The IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab as a Learning Laboratory

Main Article Content

Issue Vol. 4 No. 1 (2021)
Published Jan 29, 2021
Section Articles
Article downloads 709
Submitted : May 14, 2020 | Accepted : Nov 8, 2020

Thea Brejzek Lawrence Paul Wallen


This article introduces the IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab, a design research collaboration between IKEA Australia and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), founded in 2018. Authored by the Lab's two directors, the article traces the pedagogical and methodological approach of the IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab. Situated within the Educational Design Research (EDR) discourse, this article demonstrates the development of a productive dialogue between two contrary operating principles: that of infinite creativity afforded to design students, and that of rigorous design development towards mass manufacturing and market distribution by a major global player in the design industry. This article outlines how co-creation principles as practised by IKEA and peer-critique as a long-established pedagogical design school tool accelerate students' understanding of the complex processes involved in contemporary design and provide “real world” experiences in the production of design concepts and outcomes.

Keywords: IKEA, UTS, co-creation, interior, educational design research

Article Details

How to Cite
Brejzek, T., & Wallen, L. P. (2021). The IKEA x UTS Future Living Lab as a Learning Laboratory. Interiority, 4(1), 117–134.
Author Biographies

Thea Brejzek, University of Technology Sydney

Thea Brejzek is Professor of Spatial Theory at the University of Technology Sydney. Thea has a background in opera stage directing and theatre studies, and from 2007 to 2012 she was Professor of Scenography at Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Thea publishes and lectures widely on the history and theory of scenography and performative environments with a particular interest in transdisciplinary practices, and in 2011 was the Founding Curator for Theory at the Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space (PQ). Thea is a member of the scientific advisory board of the Bauhaus Dessau and Associate Editor of the Routledge Journal, Theatre and Performance Design. She has been Visiting Professor at Bartlett School of Architecture, is a Research Fellow at TU Berlin and in 2017 has been awarded a Bogliasco Foundation Research Fellowship. Recent publications: Brejzek, T. & Wallen, L., 2018, The Model as Performance: Staging Space in Theatre and Architecture, Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, London.

Lawrence Paul Wallen, University of Technology Sydney

Lawrence Wallen is a Professor at the University of Technology Sydney. From 2009–2018 he was Head of School, Design at UTS and from 2002 to 2012 Lawrence was Professor of Scenography at the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland. Lawrence's most recent monograph entitled The Model as Performance: Staging Space in Theatre and Architecture published by Bloomsbury, London (co-authored with Thea Brejzek, 2018) investigates the history and development of the scale model from the Renaissance to the present. In parallel to his academic writing in journals such as Leonard (2020) and AD (2021), he has realised stage designs for Opera, Theatre and Dance across Europe and Asia. Lawrence is a Guest Artist/Artist of the Collection of the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM), Research Fellow at TU Berlin and a Bogliasco Fellow. In parallel to his scholarly writing, he has maintained a gallery-based practise that has evolved from a highly digital focus to his current work in video, drawing and photography with recent exhibitions in Vilnius, France, Cyprus, Sydney, Cairo and Italy.


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